Rainforest Connection: Using smartphones to save the rainforest

Rainforest Connection is helping rangers to protect rainforests from illegal deforestation by turning old smartphones into solar-powered lookouts, which are able to detect the noise of chainsaws and so allowing for intervention  in real time.

Rainforest Connection use technology and big data to enable on-the-ground partners to save the world’s most threatened rainforests and habitats.

Installed in the trees, the RFCx device consists of an old mobile phone equipped with microphones that capture ambient sounds up to 1 km around. A homemade solar panel system, also made from recycled materials, feeds the RFCx despite the shade under the canopy.

When the sound of a chainsaw is detected, the phone sends an alert to a server that sends an email and an SMS to the rangers, who can then get the logging stopped.

Illegal deforestation is a gateway activity to clearing rainforest, one of the primary causes of climate change. According to the UN up to 90% of logging in tropical rainforests is illegal.

The San Francisco-based start up, Rainforest Connection, was founded by engineer Topher White in 2012 with the aim to monitor and protect remote areas of the rainforest.

Rainforest Connection has helped stop illegal logging and poaching operations in Sumatra, and the system is being expanded to three more rainforest reserves in Indonesia, the Amazon and Africa.

Rainforest Connection

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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